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Skip Navigation LinksDifferences Between High School and College for Students with Disabilities :: Disability Services :: Student Development Services :: Home

Differences Between High School and College for Students with Disabilities

Applicable Laws

I.D.E.A. (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)A.D.A. (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990)
Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973
I.D.E.A. is about SUCCESSA.D.A. is about ACCESS

Required Documentation

I.E.P. (Individualized Education Plan and/or 504 PlanHigh School I.E.P. and 504 are not sufficient. Documentation guidelines specify. information needed for each category of disability.
School provides evaluation at no cost to studentStudent must get evaluation at own expense
Documentation focuses on determining whether student is eligible for services based on specific disability categories in I.D.E.A.Documentation must provide information on specific functional limitations, and demonstrate the need for specific accommodations


Student is identified by the school and is supported by parents and teachersStudent must self-identify to the Office of Disability Services
Primary responsibility for arranging accommodations belongs to the schoolPrimary responsibility for self-advocacy and arranging accommodations belongs to the student
Teachers approach you if they believe you need assistanceProfessors are usually open and helpful, but most expect you to initiate contact if you need assistance

Parental Role

Parent has access to student records and can participate in the accommodation processParent does not have access to student records without student’s written consent
Parent advocates for studentStudent advocates for self


Teachers may modify curriculum and/or alter pace of assignmentsProfessors are not required to modify curriculum design or alter assignment deadlines
You are expected to read short assignments that are then discussed, and often re-taught, in classYou are assigned substantial amounts of reading and writing which may not be directly addressed in class
You seldom need to read anything more than once, and sometimes listening in class is enoughYou need to review class notes and text material regularly

Grades and Tests

I.E.P. or 504 plan may include modifications to test format and/or gradingGrading and test format changes (i.e. multiple choice vs. essay) are generally not available. Accommodations to HOW tests are given (extended time, test proctors) are available when supported by disability documentation.
Testing is frequent and covers small amounts of materialTesting is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material
Makeup tests are often availableMakeup tests are seldom an option; if they are, you need to request them
Teachers often take time to remind you of assignments and due datesProfessors expect you to read, save, and consult the course syllabus (outline); the syllabus spells out exactly what is expected of you, when it is due, and how you will be graded

Study Responsibilities

Tutoring and study support may be a service provided as part of an I.E.P. or 504 planTutoring DOES NOT fall under Disability Services. Students with disabilities must seek out tutoring resources as they are available to all students.
Your time and assignments are structured by othersYou manage your own time and complete assignments independently
You may study outside of class as little as 0 to 2 hours a week, and this may be mostly last-minute test preparationYou need to study at least 2 to 3 hours outside of class for each hour in class
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